One of the many reasons I often feel like I’m not “Jewish enough” is that I haven’t been to Israel before. I was thinking about going some time in the next year if the opportunity presented itself. It likely would, but I don’t trust my luck. I have always had a sinking feeling that I would be in the one group where things go massively awry.
Right now, a lot of us have friends and loved ones in Israel. Most of the time, I do not really worry about their safety or well-being. So many American college students have an overwhelmingly positive experience in Israel, and many people in Israel probably live in safer conditions than parts the US.
Right now, however, I feel a bit uneasy. I know I would not feel comfortable going to Israel at present. But I feel as though I might be giving up an opportunity that I can’t get back. If I say “not this year” for too many more years, the programs won’t be available to me anymore.
I have to remind myself continually that stepping onto Israel’s soil doesn’t make me a Jew. I am a Jew regardless. Perhaps I feel that missing out on Israel is like missing out on Jewish sleep away camps all over again.
under Date Night
I date a lot of guys, and I like to think that I do a pretty good job vetting the guys and assessing their character. However, I’m still pretty wary of first dates. Safety tends to be compromised when people get complacent. If it’s a first date, I meet in daylight and in public. I never let them see where I live: not the neighborhood, street, or building. If I can safely take public transit, I do. If not, I don’t typically go directly home from the date unless it’s more than a 15-minute drive. Call me paranoid, but I know that sexual assault and rape unfortunately happen.
Rewind to last year. I went on a date with a guy who I’ve known since I was 16. I thought him to be an upstanding person. He had just moved into a new house a few hours north of mine. After spending a day together, his mom made us a healthy dinner that we ate with his family. The whole thing seemed very sweet and wholesome. He then took me down a hallway to his new room. I sat on his bed to take off my shoes. My feet were tired and swollen after a long day of walking. Next thing I knew, he had one hand down my pants and the other was reaching into my bra. Since things escalated very quickly, I had to fight him off a bit. He was being very aggressive and his eyes looked mean in a way I’d never seen before. Luckily I nipped things in the bud very quickly, but I was taken aback by what happened. I was heartbroken that someone I had trusted – and someone I had known for years – turned out to be so shady.
My good female friend always says, “If you’re only friends, you have to ask before you stick your hands where the sun doesn’t shine.” Clearly my date didn’t know that. Of the nearly 30 dates I’ve been on, only one has taken a scary turn. However, one is enough. One is too much. And not everyone escapes as lucky as I did. Maybe you spare yourself that one date by being slightly more careful. I think it’s well worth the trouble.
Click here for a full list of safety tips from JDate.
under Online Dating
There is not one person on this Earth who will agree with you about everything and think that the sun, moon and stars should revolve around you. If someone tells you constantly that you’re the best thing since sliced bread and tells you you’re perfect and have no faults, then try to listen to your subconscious telling you something isn’t kosher. It sounds like you’re probably getting played. It’s that amazing prospect who never called you again. Don’t take it personally, it happens, just look out for the signs I just mentioned.
You also have to look out for the scam artists. The people who are looking for singles – desperate and vulnerable. It may sound obvious, but never, ever send money to someone you’ve only met online. If someone claims to be from out of the country and says he or she is moving here and then suddenly needs some extra cash to visit you, don’t believe it’s your Beshert who happens to live thousands of miles and only $1300 away. It’s not. Your bank account will thank you later.
Don’t give up too much personal information either as you can set yourself up for identity theft. If you’ve only met online, then you really don’t know who the other person is on the other side – it could be anybody, remember that – which is why I have always recommended meeting right away. If someone doesn’t want to meet, there’s a reason. Heed my warning and move on. Don’t give him or her a second thought because I can guarantee they are not who they say they are in some shape, way or form.
Trust your instincts online and have realistic expectations. People are going to stretch the truth and build themselves up a little bigger (or skinnier) and better, that’s expected, but if someone seems a little too perfect don’t hesitate to guard your heart and wallet.
Dear Gems from Jen,
Someone I just met wants me to email him at an address that he gave to me. How can I do that without him knowing my email? Is this the right thing to do or should I continue writing to him through JDate?
There are ways to get around using your regular email address; however, I don’t see the purpose. If you are not comfortable corresponding through regular email then only correspond through JDate until you feel ready. There is no rule when it comes to the amount of time one should keep his/her anonymity. It really boils down to when you feel safe enough to share personal information. Until that time, stick to using JDate for all communication and don’t let anyone push you into something you are uncomfortable doing.
Gems from Jen
Dear Gems from Jen,
How long after the initial “hi” email should one wait to divulge their real name and actual phone number?
Dear Giving Information,
I believe this question is different for every person using JDate. The first step is to feel comfortable with the person you are communicating with. Ask yourself these questions; do I want to meet the person? What is my motivation in communicating with this person? Can I be my authentic self while communicating with this person? Once you have answered these questions, ask yourself if you believe the person on the other side of the email is being truthful? Do you feel safe thus far in the process? If you are sincerely interested in getting to know the person better and meeting in the real world then give your name and phone number. I hope this helps!
Gems from Jen